Angels With Dirty Faces

Screened: Sunday 21st February at 5pm
Director: /images/2016/angels2.jpg
Starring: Michael Curtiz

"Morning gentlemen. Nice day for murder.." The lightning bolt performance of Jimmy Cagney as gangster Rocky Sullivan in Michael Curtiz's 1938 classic Angels With Dirty Faces effortlessly stands as a pinnacle performance today of hair trigger madness. But this multiple themed crime noir from the Casablanca director is so, so much more. Astoundingly rich in atmosphere, elegantly plotted and dense with superbly powerful characterisation from other silver screen stars like Pat O Brien, Ann Sheridan and, of course, Humphrey Bogart, Angels is a slum based predecessor to future classics such as City Of God, where the crime laden streets of New York also act as the stars. The story centres around two boyhood friends and their wildly differing life paths, which ultimately collide as O Brien's priest Father Jerry Connolly tries to stop his childhood buddy Rocky from corrupting a group of local street children, the excellently acted Dead End Kids.  

The films conclusion is still as powerful as it ever was, and with the snappy NYC dialogue and undeniably strong human message it still carries today, Angels With Dirty Faces is, even now, a pinnacle in Hollywoods early days, and one of the sharpest, most realistic gangster films ever put onto the silver screen. Even if you have just a fleeting interest in the classics of yesteryear, this has to be seen.